A survey of the phenomenon and activities of New Media Culture in Latvia
reveals a wide range of initiatives and projects that already have developed
a "historical" background. The number and diversity of projects and activities
of the past years is so large that it would transform any "objective"
analysis in a very chaotic description. In order to escape the shortcomings
of a very technological interpretation or a generalised theoretical essay
this article is composed of four complementary parts: a short historical
comment and description of some current projects; E-lab glossary with
a description of major collaborative projects and activities; interviews
with artists and members of E-lab; notice on some individual net art projects.
Interviews provide an insight in the development of Riga New Media space
and overlook the main issues that are topical in the net culture today.
The mapping of the "wired-art" field in Latvia shows several centres
where people concentrate and where many projects mostly are initiated.
These zones overlap and interact, creating a flexible and de-concentrated
infrastructure. The centres are united by the information stream, spontaneous
collaborative projects and a very benevolent atmosphere. Besides the "strategist"
electronic media laboratory - E-lab <http://re-lab.net> another
centre gaining significance is the Visual Communication Department of
the Latvian Art Academy with a curriculum including computer design classes,
digital video and photography. In the last couple of years a growing importance
acquires Janis Rozentals Riga Art College where one can learn skills in
3D, web page and layout design and which is currently forming a video
class. Furthermore there are very active groups of independent artists,
DJs and other creative projects like the New Media and DJ crew "Varka
Crew" <www.varka.net>, the group "99% Svaigs" <http://svaigs99.lv
that has organised several multidisciplinary art events, the VJ and artists
group "Famous five" <http://f5.com.com/>, the recently launched
project "Rigas zieds" <http://re-lab.lv/rigasZieds>, the film studio
"Locomotive International" and many individuals that are using Internet
for creative purposes and mostly operate with technical possibilities
of computers and internet as users - to create sites for their informative
and art projects.
The first Internet providers (1992) and the first electronic café in Riga
emerged in the mid 90ies. Important for the further development of New
Media activities were two cross disciplinary events of 1995 and 1996 -
"Open" and "Biosports", where a series of rave parties and exhibitions
for the first time promoted the interaction between projects of young
visual and sound artists, modes of expression of the urban subcultures.
Visual works together with sound created a particular environment which
expressed the individualism of the young generation, associated with creativity,
longing for a new kind of democratic, fresh and "real" culture, participation
in rave sessions, etc., and freed from a conventionally restrictive hierarchy.
Events also revealed the gap between "official" understanding of youth
culture and it's needs and growing territorial, social and economical
heterogenity in urban youth scene. Both events become famous for creativity
and for drug use. Within the project, a series of photos were exhibited
by the founders of E-lab, Raitis Smits and Rasa Smite, and video projections
made by the future film studio "Locomotive International". Both "Open"
and "Biosports" were distant from computer-generated art, but they revealed
possibilities of further collaboration and linked younger generation artists.
The idea to create an independent media laboratory in Riga was born in
1996 after the visit to 1st Interstanding (New media conference and event
in Tallinn) and discussions with international net activists. New Media
offered immediate contacts, experimental virtual space for creative activity,
a free flow of information and the support of more experienced media centres.
E-lab has emerged in situation when official cultural institutions had
suffered from luck of knowledge and incapacity to deal with new cross
disciplinary, democratic forms of cultural expression coping with inherent
conservativism and trying to overcome heritage of isolation and soviet
valuation system. Independent initiative that succesfully offered alternative
to the commercially orientated and therefore conservative gallery art
scene as well as to rare selective and institutionalised contemporary
Media lab employing and offering new immediate and democratic communication
tools, carried out a number small scale activities fusing creative and
educational fields and mediating the information about the developments
in new media and contemporary art. The possibilities offered by Internet
filled the gap of isolation and anonymity of emerging, experimental art
projects and practices. E-lab was created and developed into a particular
laboratory and space for the promotion of informal creative activity,
maintaining a wide circle of international collaborators, supporters and
advisers and was located in a narrow space with a very limited technical
equipment. The first web projects mostly examining technical browser possibilities
were followed by the discovery of a new field of activity - acoustic Internet
space and possibilities of net broadcasting.
The sound transgressed borders and developed an alternative model of collaboration
not just participating in technically interactive network projects but
receiving, mixing and broadcasting a unique "live" signal, as well as
maintaining simultaneous contacts in chat rooms. Technically handy and
expermental it was open to chance and technical findings "in process".
The immediate experience of and participation in transborder streamings
not in the informative but in the process level created hype of the new
acoustic media. Sound broadcasts within Xchange open channel sessions
<http://ozone.re-lab.net/live.ram> included co-broadcasting sessions,
interviews, music mixes, live jam sessions and poetry readings.
Net broadcasting sessions "lowered" the instrumental character of broadcast
in mass media and mainstream content to experimental activity and occupation
with individual broadcasting and mediated, private listening. It subversed
the commercial understanding of media inviting to reinterpret post-structuralist
analyse of mediated broadcast of message. As tolerant activity in general
it could be regarded as activity within situation of "principle of alternativism"
as defined by J.Lotman (defined opositions of structure are just different
levels of interpretation, that leads to system with "avalanche-like information
The Internet radio materialised a new model of collaboration by co-streaming
sessions that included broadcasters and listeners in other countries and
also attracted local sound artists. Streaming in the net created an alternative
to conventional artists-viewer relations and to the common use of "interactive"
net artworks. Behind each received or broadcasted sound signal one could
visualise net activists, teams and individuals, sound artists and fans
of technological processes in different countries. Behind the Internet
sound was created by groups of creative people and like-minded persons
in the real time. As a new medium, Internet was a field of technical and
conceptual discoveries which were complemented by the communication process.
An important theoretical manifest that influenced Riga net broadcasters
was the lecture by Eric Davis that was transmitted live from Budapest
to "Art + Communication" festival in 1997 <http://xchange.re-lab.net/festival>.
In this lecture, Eric Davis was drawing parallels between the up-to-date
net radio broadcasting processes and the origins of radio broadcastings,
touching the questions of power and media, characterising the acoustic,
sound phenomenon and its subjective quality in perception: "What made
early radio so exciting, in terms of the technical, the social and the
imaginative, was its openness: it was a space that was not entirely defined,
wasn't totally mapped. More than that, I think it was acoustic space,
which opened up a different logic. And that's happening again: the acoustic
dimension of electronic media, and particularly of the Internet… The idea
that we can create another kind of dimension with its own possibilities
- not just informational possibilities gives us more atmospheric sense
of where we are headed, as we plunge into the 21st century and its weird
The New Media and computer art activities in Riga have always commingled
art projects in the virtual space with events, actions and projects in
the actual, real time. The presentation of individual and group projects
in the net is becoming increasingly popular in the youth and club culture
scene of Riga. The expanding influence of the New Media coincided with
a growing awareness of lifestyle qualities where the way of life and perception
was an expression of a free, personal, creative way of thinking. A parallel
can be traced with Michel Foucault's "ethic of the self" that overlooked
the interaction of self-created virtual and subjective space with conditions
of reality - "extreme attention to what is real is confronted with practice
of liberty that simultaneously respects this reality and violates it."
The rhisomatic network of active and independent artists created a flexible
basis for spontaneous collaborative actions. E-lab activities calls to
paraphrase U.Eco's concept of "open work", and the ambiguity is one of
their main features. Projects were uniting their ideas put into practice,
responses to initiatives of other people and a flexible search for co-operation.
The sound activities of "Openzone" and "Radio Ozone" <http://ozone.re-lab.net>
were the platforms for collaboration with nowadays already proverbial
sound projects - members of "Yaputhma Sound System" and "Sloka Sound System",
continued by other projects like "Clausthome" <(www.clausthome.lv),
"Varka Crew", "Alexandroid" <>, Dj AG and Raitis and the poets (Examples
of electronic music, mixes, interviews and poetry readings broadcasts
could be found in radio Ozone archive - <http://ozone.re-lab.net/archive.htm>.
The real-time activities helped to avoid the enclosedness and maybe consequent
action of net projects and "pure" computer labs and to follow and form
the changes in the urban environment creating not technical solutions
but interaction with environment.
A significant part in the popularising of New Media culture was the course
of lectures and workshops organised by E-lab. At first the weekly Wednesday
lectures at E-Lab was a part of the "Open Zone" project in 1997, next
year they were continued in the Latvian Art Academy. Educational activities
provided timely information on net art projects and media culture events
in the world, and courses ranged from the introduction to Internet to
topics of net and cultural criticism. Project presentations included lectures
by foreign net artists on subjects of pirat radio (His Bunting, UK, www.irational.org
), editions of alternative TV programs (Jutempus, Lithuania), media centres,
networks (Nettime <www.nettime.org>; Syndicate <), Vj projects
presentations, introductions in net radio broadcasting, models of media
activism, presentations of sabotage projects (Rtmark <www.rtmark.com>
and discussions on the strategic and theoretical questions such as internet
access, questions of power in Internet space, etc. Workshops encouraged
students and artists to create their own web-pages, net projects, and
to display their projects on the net. The E-lab server supported several
projects by the artists Gints Gabrans, Izolde Cesiniece, Monika Pormale,
The summary of E-lab activities, and the description of most topical net
radio broadcasting and net activism questions raised in "Art +Communications"
conferences and collaborative groups in Latvia and abroad are in two editions
of net audio issue "Acoustic space" published in 1998 and 1999.
Now when the access to the equipment and software is easier and common,
and the Art Academy and J. Rozentals Riga Art College work on creating
their own technical basis, artists more often use computer-generated imagery
and technological possibilities implementing them in multidisciplinary
real-time actions and events. The main qualities of Internet as access
and source of information and samples and immediacy of communication are
becoming the metaphors for art projects now. A pseudo-scientific and technological
solution or a witty, creative reinterpretation of technological possibilities
and mass media messages and imagery is the pass to alternative attitude
and action or the search for it. The exchange of individual subjectivity
and mood that theoretically is related to idea of use and metaphors of
"unrepresentable" - communication, speed, information streams and experiencing.
The tendencies to intervention and experience of the process are clearly
evident in the works of young artists. The art projects enable them to
transform the conventional understanding of a real-time event or internet
space. It seems irrelevant to talk again about the romantic escapism of
these methods, the aesthetics of informal culture now cover a wide social
scene, influencing its creative and consuming processes. Maybe it could
be even regarded as a generation (and environment) phenomenon.
The culture developments of the 90ies have redefined the role of the individual
and relevance of the artist status. The New Media have implemented a creative
cultural activity as a valuable process, shifting the emphasis from a
definite artefact and definite artistic values to the interventional aesthetics
and efficient creative action. Who calls himself an artist? Or what is
definition of this word today.
As some examples of present activities I could mention the group "Famous
five" (F5) <http://f5.com.com> that associates students from the
Visual Communication Department of the Latvian Art Academy. Working with
DVD and computer animation as individual artists and acting as "F5" creating
club visuals (e.g., at Artgenda 2000 and media projects). They design
images for public events, using computer-generated patterns that form
the visual background of events besides the acoustic atmosphere. The head
of Visual Communication Department Ojars Petersons once mentioned that
he sees procesuality as one of most characteristic features in younger
generation artist's work.
The collaborative literary project "Orbita" has published its first anthology
with essays that feature the new cultural environment in Riga of the 90ies
- including poetry, essays, interviews and photography. "Orbita" has also
organised the net "TV bridge" "Moscow -Riga" with live poetry readings.
Within the framework of Radio Ozone, "Varka Crew" continues to develop
periodical "POSTtele Radio" broadcastings - "NEW literature side of i-life.
The "POSTteleRadio" is looking for participants in WEB ring of literature
readings around the world any language are available with poetry and postmodern
As seen above in the last years publications have included also the analysis
and attempts to sum up the the projects initated in previous years. The
most recent tendencies in work of the independent artists organisations
in Riga could be characterised as a transition from structural to strategic
developments - as very spectacular project could be mentioned founding
of the Centre for New Media Culture RIXC, and the 4 th "Art + Communication"
festival (August 24-26, 2000).
RIXC ( RIX for abbreviation for Riga on a plane tickets and express mail,
and for Riga International Xchange Centre) is a response to the need of
independent cultural actors in to have a common meeting place, structure
with a space for presentations, project development and technical facilities.
The initiative has come from three independent New Media Culture groups
- E-lab, the film studio "Locomotive International" and the Baltic Centre
of Co-operation for Peace.
RIXC is intended a multimedia lab and open centre and representative of
independent artists and group initiatives. That will paralelly develop
the research in media theory and services - such as consulting and researches
(more on RIXC in E-Lab glossary). Maybe the creation of centre, more -
the move in a new space and creation of some basic technical facilities
in some future will be not just a materialisation of a long dreamed dream,
but also a shift from home based, laptop and small lab activities to the
programming and creation of continuous New Media culture development policy.
The step towards these strategies is the 4th annual "Art + Communication"
festival that will introduce the newly founded RIXC, and host the NICE
(Network Interface for Cultural Exchange) meeting. As stated in program
"NICE meeting will focus on various cultural policy issues dealing with
New Media, microcultures and cultural exchange. The key aim of the meeting
is to promote exchange in the Baltic-Nordic region and to stimulate the
local development of New Media culture."
The activities of E-Lab could be also related to the question of sense
of centre and periphery in the age of electronic communications. Covering
real time actions and projects in urban environment as well as possibilities
of presentations of creative initiatives in virtual space.
Access is the basis that defines role and involvment in global village
actions. Otherwise you can claim yourself as a victim of social order,
neutral observer or excluded individual. The internal phenomenon of Internet
is it's utopistic natural plurality. You can always complement Virtual
mirror society that includes art, commerce, science and politics with
your own personal and subjective message that maybe will never be discovered
by any search engine. But the presence of your message is already sign
of involvement that one day can make you noticed and bring in centre of
sudden interest. That maybe is easier process if your presence is mentioned
in some art server's database. Internet is successfully mediating manifestos
and offers as well as tendencies of personal narration and intimacy, creating
the addiction to this enormous info source.
This article, that was asked to correspond to "Cyberart" thematics was
mainly focusing on the New Media lab activities. Howewer artists practices
in New Media field is the one of the most syptomatic signs of innovative
tendencies in local art scene during the last decade. That in a way mirror
necessities and exclusivety of access to information and fast communication
systems in mid ninetees, practices of cross disciplinary, complementary
and international collaborations in virtual and real space as well as
structure and development of independent culture organisations and practicioneers
Interesting feature within this article is the number of abbreviation
and codes relating to separate activities. Emerging independent working
language analogue to the one in scientific research or childrens game,
mapping the discoveries and territories of art projects, interventions,
and distinguishing every activity. As a virtual but space Internet has
hosted the travels and improving communication systems. I guess this coded
"language" could be sign for game and for attempt to cross the borders
of real life and invented online creative activity.
"E-lab" <http://re-lab.net> - "small scale, independent cultural
and non profit initiative that developsand supports cultural projects
with digital and networking technologies in Riga. Networking and project
office for cultural and social non-profit projects in the field of digital
and networked media and Interactive Multimedia; both within Latvia as
well as in international plane."
"Open Zone" - in 1997 "series of weekly Wednesday evening seminars on
various aspects of digital culture and relationship between culture and
new technologies, for a local audience in Riga" Open zone included both
local as well as international presentations live music and sound art
jam sessions and Dj mixes. "Open Zone presented critical accents and innovative
ideas about culture and new technologies, and managed to interest young
audience (both Latvian and non - Latvian) in these issues."
"Ozone" - net.radio <http://ozone.re-lab.net> - net radio, broadcasted
live from E-lab every Tuesday night at 10 pm local time and Radio Ozone
archive. Broadcasting sessions followed the creation of live jam sessions
within the weekly events Open zone held during the 1997 in E-lab and Ozone
Latvian alternative music archive <http://ozone.re-lab.net/archive.html>.
Starting from 1997 radio "Ozone" is one of the most active participants
of Xchange network and Xchange open zone co-broadcasting sessions. The
first Ozone broadcasting where co-ordinated by sound artist Ugis Vitins
who invited local Dj and soun artists to participate in live jam sessions,
create dj mixes etc. Among the first participants where "Sloka Sound System",
Gosh <http://www.andrews.lv/~gosh>, Vlad Jakovlev, Sergej Timofejev
<http://re-lab.net/tim>, in 98 - 00 live broadcastings are continued
by groups "Varka crew" <www.varka.net>, "Alexandroid" <www.andrews.lv>,
"Elast" and "Clausthome" <www.clausthome.lv> and others.
"Xchange" <http://xchange.re-lab.net> <http://xchange.x-i.net>
- net audio mailinglist and network for net audio broadcasters. Xchange
includes Open channel - collaborative broadcasting sessions, net radio
meetings and lectures initiated by Xchange participants: "..guideline
important for the Xchange is to explore the acoustic dimesions on the
net, to find out what audio means for the experiencing multidimensionality
of the "space", of the "acoustic cyberspace". Open spaces, non-linearity
and experimental practice - are the keywords for xchange development."
Most active participants E-lab/Ozone/ Riga, Backspace/ London, Radioqualia/
Adelaide, Zina Kaye/ Sydney, Radio 90/ Banff, mikro/ Berlin, MZX/ Ljubljana.
In 1998 Xchange has received Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction
in net category.
"Orang" http://orang.orang.org, Berlin http://orang.re-lab.net Riga http://back.spc.org/orang
London "an open audio archive system… ORANG provides a free and freely
accessible infrastructure for the development, maintenance and organisation
of a joint non-commercial audio archive. It's software architecture that
can be installed on different servers. Each server node is autonomous
and aims to generate content that reflect the local scene, but access
to the entire pool of audio materials on all ORANG systems is assured."
"Art + Communication" - annual new media and digital arts festival organised
by E-lab. Program of festival is composed of presentations, workshops,
live broadcasting sessions, performances, screenings and other activities
related to net culture and digital arts. The first festival <http://home.parks.lv/E-LAB/events/fest.html>
took place in 1996 and marked the official opening of E-Lab.
In 1997 festival <http://xchange.re-lab.net/festival> was devoted
to issues of net radio broadcasting, it was significant with the development
of Xchange network and mailinglist idea. Conference included many presentations
and lectures important for further development of net.audio concepts.
The first issue of "Acoustic space" magazine was initially intended to
be a summary of conference materials, discussions and presentations.
1998 "Xchange unlimited" <http://xu.x-i.net> continued the tradition
of previous festivals, but this time the besides broadcasting accent was
put on presentations of projects from Baltic sea region and creation of
Festival 2000 <http://rixc.lv/00> is the last one of "Art + Communication"
series. This year it hosts NICE meeting and and is intended as introduction
to future RIXC - The Centre for New Media Culture activities. Future festivals
will be organised by RIXC under the title of "Cultural jamming".
"Acoustic space" - net audio issue published in 1998 and 1999. Both issues
are collections of net activists writtings, presentations and interviews
focusing on subjects of networking, media culture theory, models of collaboation
and exchanging experience in technological and creative process. Both
issues are complemented by presentation of on media culture projects in
Latvia and projects developed by international collaborative organisations
"Rezone" <http://re-lab.lv/rezone> - in Latvia mailinglist "information
exchange channel in Latvian about culture, music and art events, clubs,
parties and city life in Latvia and other countries. "
"RIXC" <http://rixc.lv> - The centre for New Media Culture, recently
founded by E-lab, film and TV studio "Locomotive International" and Baltic
Centre Co-operation for Peace and surrounded by diverse satelite organisations.
"The Centre for New Media Culture RIXC intends to become a meeting place
for different types of culture. More than a centre that merely focuses
on new media technology, it first and foremost intends to foster cultural
exchange, promote new forms of cultural and artistic expression, and develop
new media in Riga and Latvia in co-operation with a host of cultural partners."
RIXC will provide facilities and will support public events - lectures,
presentations, workshops; access to internet and publications in Media
lounge; Media lab; training programmes; artists residencies, research
in the field of new media culture and culture policy; consultancy; local
"x-i.net" <http://x-i.net> - server for "independent cultural projects.
personal, anonymous, individual, experimental, special, neutral,extraordinary,
autonomous or collaborative (or homeless)projects". Runned and administrated
by Jaanis Garancs. Among other projects x-i.net hosts sites of NICE, BIN
and Xchange network.
"NICE" <http://nice.x-i.net> - Network Interface for Cultural exchange.
NICE is the network of New Media Centres in Baltic Sea region. NICE aims
"to create a a common ground for New Media Culture initiatives", and to
encourage the development of media centres and media culture initiatives
in the region. Network was started in 1999 and now includes members from
Norway, Estonia, Byelorussia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, Iceland, Russia,
Lithuania, Denmark and Poland. NICE mailinglist serves as network communication
channel. NICE meeting on cultural policy and new media development in
the region of Baltic Sea will take place in Riga on August 25, 2000, parallel
to "Art + Communication" festival .
"Artgenda" (http://artgenda.re-lab.net) - The biennial of young artists
around the Baltic Sea.
Artgenda 1998 (Stockholm) - Riga was presented by diverse net. art projects
as "Welcome" by Arvids Alksnis, "Spheroid parish"by Gints Gabrans, "Upe,
Straume, Krasts" by Izolde Cesiniece (see net art projects section) and
"Artgenda" 2000 - E-lab coordinated "Riga Media space" project - creating
"Open forum " - medialaunge with Artgenda art projects presentations and
workshops; 3 days live streaming session of DJ mixes and web-TV. Club
event Stroboscope@sthetoscope with presentations of "Varka crew", "Clausthome"
and special program prepared by "F5" Martins Ratniks, Ieva Rubeze, Ervins
Broks and Deejays AG and Raitis "Time to jack". And presentations of newest
ar projects by group "Rigas Zieds" (http://re-lab.lv/rigasZieds) and "Care
taker" (http://re-lab.net/care-taker) by Oskars Poikans.
"Name.space" <http://name.space.xs2.net> - "Name.space, based in
New York City, has developed and deployed an advanced system of domain
name registration, operating new Top Level Domains (TLDs) since 1996,
lighting up new domain names in real time, bringing automation and high
efficiency to the new nameservice industry."
Interviews with artists and members of e-lab:
Raitis Smits, Rasa Smite and Arvids Alksnis- net activists, members and
founders of E-lab. Working and living in Riga. Raitis and Rasa - tutors
at Latvian Art Academy. A.Alksnis leading Internet course at J. Rozentals
Riga Art College.
MT. Why did you give priority to "acoustic space" in the mid-90ies?
Rasa S. We were looking for a new open space and then it appeared suddenly.
After experimenting with sound we noticed that the visual field is extremely
privileged in the arts. Especially in Latvia, you can see that people
don't understand media, clearly visual thinking. It is closely connected
to traditions, in Austria everything that deals with sound are very topical
issues, and this tradition dates back to the mid-80ies. Acoustic space
will never be on the top - it is ambient and it works in three dimensions,
processes in acoustic events will always differ from those in the visual
arts. Acoustic space is a background in human perception therefore you
can experience it more freely. And the Internet radio can't really be
called an art project, it is something else as well. And the same is true
of E-lab and its projects, they could be seen as art projects but maybe
not so necessarily.
Raitis S. Music gave a feeling of this temporality, music was also an
additional channel for young people, which helped to acquaint them with
this media in attractive way.
We started net broadcasting nearly intuitively, and we were lucky to start
it as some of the first. Recently we had some conversations that this
period has passed.
Now we have come to realise the social importance of New Media culture.
Of course as continuation of the net radio now are coming visuals - a
technically more complicated solutions.
MT. E-lab has expanded also in printed media, creating "Acoustic space".
Raitis S. . We are mostly interested in Internet but in a way it is a
very isolated audience. When materials are transferred from net to paper
they involve another group of readers. The second case is that it allows
us easier to evaluate and to document our work. For E-lab it is very important
to create this summary for Xchange activities.
"Acoustic space" was started when, after one of the festivals, we were
preparing summaries of conference texts and the amount of them was so
big that we decided better to publish them as a magazine. We supplemented
the first issue with a survey on media art in Latvia. The second volume
also included descriptions of activities in other Baltic States. The next
one will contain chapters on NICE, as well as on media centres in the
Baltic States and Northern Europe countries and the new media culture
policy. Probably it will include a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM.
MT. Xchange - network and mailinglist for the net audio broadcasters is
already several years "old". And there not so many visible experiments
today in net audio field. How does it function today?
Raitis S. At the moment it works very sensibly as a mailinglist and a
network for those who are still working with sounds broadcasting on the
net. Presently it has already acquired a very stable context - if it was
experimental at the beginning then now it has become more established.
There are very many club radios now , when sound comes directly from the
DJ desk. It is maybe a rest-time for experimental activities. Nearly everybody
continues to develop previous projects. The Internet radio has become
a more established medium.
MT. What were the most important models you followed in the creating of
Rasa S. Everything that existed before, we discussed every model - V2,
Syndicate, Backspace. And we are very surprised that E-lab has developed
into something absolutely different. Most of media centres have some common
features It is very interesting how the time changes the structure of
organisations, especially mailinglists.
MT. Maybe some comments on "Rezone" -mailinglist in Latvia?
Rasa S. Very characteristic networks as oldest ones, Nettime <www.nettime.org>
and Syndicate <www.v2.nl/syndicate>, are actively communicating
by mailinglists, a very good tool for the exchange of news, between conferences
Arvids A. Initially it was just correspondence copied on carbon, information
about e-lab activities. Now there are about 160 people who have subscribed.
"Rezone" is successful as a channel to connect people and exchange information
about cultural events. It is a space for announcements, for information,
sometimes discussions are taking place.
Raitis S. During the last two years we have become very active in the
education field and somehow we have a little neglected community. We are
more engaged in the work with students and less dealing with "occasional"
people with specific interests, those who maybe are not fitting in the
institutional circle. But "Rezone" is a good way to reach them.
As to education - the second generation of artists is emerging now that
has started to work in a very different situation and in a completely
different context. When we got involved in new media activities it could
be described as 100 of elements but altogether it was a huge wave of energy,
an explosion. All the time it was very inspiring and elated, a joy of
discovery. It is not worse now, but the works in the net are becoming
very different. I think in future there will be some very interesting
young artists coming from Riga.
MT. During the last two years E-lab becomes more involved in the development
of culture policy strategies. You are starting the New Media centre RIXC
and "Art + Communication" festival this year will be the meeting place
for artists and policy makers. Could you comment on these "strategy" projects?
Rasa S. After four years of intense activity in the field of new media
art the time has come to look at things a little different. When E-lab
was founded our main goal was to introduce electronic art in Latvia and
to create environment of alternative and experimental art, which previously
existed only as an underground. First efforts were made in 1996 by the
"Open" event where youth subcultures came to the fore. We chose New Media
because already in 1996 the art scene seemed to be too enclosed and too
self-sufficient. We wanted to communicate more freely and to create our
own creative environment not mediated by curators, to create an art environment
in everyday life and not just in art exhibitions. At the moment this aim
is reached. And then the idea came about the next step - RIXC. Now there
are many quite strong independent artist groups and movements working
in Riga and Latvia, and it is time to create a structure that would assure
their recognition on the level of cultural policy.
MT. RIXC is an organisation that will focus mainly on New Media culture.
RS. Now there is a lot of interest about Internet, but less people know
about the net culture. The net culture does not fit in any traditional
field of art or culture. We try to define it so that new media would be
considered equally important as other subjects. For example - new media
are very close to develop solutions for social problems; they are directly
connected to subcultures and attract young people.
MT. Are you already scheduling programs for the future media festivals,
annual events organised by RIXC?
Rasa S. This year festival is a transition to the next one "Cultural jamming"
event that will be organised by the RIXC in collaboration with E-lab and
the film group "Locomotive International" and curated by an independent
group of curators. It will offer a net art exhibition with workshops and
presentations of international artists and local artist groups.
The structure of this year "Art + Communication" is different - we are
inviting to meet artists and policy makers. We want to be aware of activities
in the Baltic region and to find our role in the Baltic-Nordic collaboration
. So we are organising a NICE (Nordic Interface for Cultural Exchange
<http://nice.x-i.net>) meeting within the festival.
MT. Could you tell more about NICE network, that is your new initiative
Rasa S. In spite of sudden political interests in the Baltic Region during
the couple of past years artists are admitting that there have been no
self-initiated artists activities before, no networks or exchange projects
on uninstitutional, unofficial level. NICE differs from other networks
like ArtGenda while, just like Syndicate and Nettime, it is a network
based on local initiatives and co-operation, on common interests. We have
many similarities in terms of media centres and activities. One of the
main aims of NICE is to support the development of new media centres.
Raitis S. As a very important future project we should mention our co-operation
with name.space <www.namespace.org>. Name.space is a project started
by Paul Garrin and collaborators some 3 years ago and it is directed against
monopoly in Internet domain name system. The idea was to establish an
independent, alternative domain system. But now there is a fight for limited
number of alternative names as for example acoustic.space. It would create
many more of the so-called Top Level Domains (TLDs) domains. Now there
is a need to reconfigure network for alternative domain names as to make
them work in a common system. E-lab has 2 of 14 support servers in this
system, and we will provide name.space services in Latvia.
Rasa S. Talking about E-lab activities, I can mention one of the best
statements was made within Interfund project - if you initiate the idea
you yourself are responsible for it. There are so many good ideas emerging
in meetings and brainstormings waiting for realisation today. I liked
this statement a lot. Unfortunately sometimes we must remind it to ourselves.
Jaanis Garancs - a net activist, artist, founder member of E-lab. Currently
student at the Academy of Media Arts (KHM) Cologne, Germany.
Web page: www.jg.x-i.net
MT. From the history of the E-lab. At the beginning there were 4 people
- you, Raitis, Rasa and Alise Tifentale...
JG. It started in early spring of the 1996. I was away, already studying
in Stockholm. I met Rasa and Raitis first by e-mail contact, introduced
by Alise. I think it was quite symbolic - this 'virtual meeting'. We were
inspired after visiting some new media culture events. Alise, Rasa, Raitis
and me had a common feeling that it is necessary to found something new
in Riga, too. We kept in contact and developed together the idea to establish
a media lab. The first ideas were about a studio where we ourselves could
work, and actions how to popularise the New Media. Later some new active
members joined - Arvids Alksnis, Ieva Auzina, Peteris Kimelis, Martins
Ratniks - that form the core group of e-lab. There is else a group of
15 to 20 people who form the wider e-lab circle.
MT. How do you see the role of e-lab in Latvian scene?
JG. It took us several years of lectures and various activities to form
some kind of "environment" here, what we can call being 'responsive'.
Now we even have reached some official recognition from the state, they
are considering our activities being interesting and significant. Maybe
they can not provide all the help needed but some recognition and understanding
From the very beginning, we wanted to be very independent, not to have
any programmatic or financial responsibilities, neither being part of
some other larger organisation.
MT. Major projects?
JG. The first projects were experimental ones - we were more experimenting
with technical tools, they were often related to our previous activities
- painting, music or video, influences came from these fields. "Rigafresh"
was one of the first initiatives that functioned as a part of an international
project. Now most of projects are collaborative - Xchange, Ozone, the
magazine "Acoustic space" and events - "Open X" at Ars Electronica for
2 years and now again "Open forum" at the Artgenda. Collective work and
ways of connecting of individual works. Now the collaborative projects
MT. Starting from 1996, E-lab has developed very successful contacts with
other net activists. In the first Xchange conference in 1996 contacts
were already established with Backspace, Irational <www.irational.org>,
Orang <www.orang.org>, and others?
JG. International contacts and communication with related organisations,
groups and individuals played a very important role. I think the Soviet
heritage, all the immense isolation before, was one of the reasons why
E-lab tried to establish all these contacts so actively. And we have gained
some knowledge how be successful with relatively minimal resources. That
is why Internet became our main tool. Yes, it was very helpful to know
many people in person, and we had many ideas how to build up the E-lab
structure. There were many possibilities - to function as a part of a
foundation or as an independent structure, to have or not to have commercial
activities. So we made a research on all of these models.
MT. And what was the closest influence?
JG. Sometimes we followed examples of other organisations like V2 in Netherlands,
MUU MediaBase in Finland - they started to work some years earlier, very
much like us... But of course we had to find our own model that could
work in Latvia. We had the idea to create this centre as a pyramid without
the peak, an open forum. Co-ordination centre with possibilities for people
to meet and to receive information. Network is our strength.
MT. Rachel Baker and Rasa have once remarked that there has been much
more naivety and utopian visions towards Internet space at the first "Art
+Communication". Are the attitudes and maybe expectations different now?
JG. There is a book by Eric Davies, "TechGnosis", where author mentions
that every epoch is glorifying some technical discoveries. Electricity,
for example, was received as the divine energy that could literally heal
body and soul and there were lots of charlatanism around that. When the
telegraph emerged, people thought that wars have become impossible as
people could solve their conflicts by more intense communication. So when
the Internet appeared people cherished illusions that at last something
will change radically. Of course there are immense changes, but I don't
think either that we can call it a revolution.
MT. What about copyright issues?
JG. If we mention software, even if I have used some pirate programs I
don't feel that it is exactly like stealing. Copyright system itself should
be re-examined nowadays. Rules should be different for the things that
can be recopied without any additional effort from the author's side.
MT. Some of my friends have made various compilations from the Internet,
but they never look at art projects.
JG. A lot of things that people are creating as net art to my mind are
a bad versions of CD-ROM projects. But sometimes there are projects that
use the specific features of the medium, give a feeling of immense interconnected
space, ever changing living organism. Outside of the computer monitor,
MT. Internet as a free utopian space?
JG. Yes, sometimes utopian and paradoxical. Strange sites, sects, fascists
and antifascists, and the like can be found side by side, that creates
the phenomenon. Or else the ‘Grand Arena' for cyber-terrorism, for example.
Web attacks that harm web-sites of big companies, or malicious computer
viruses. An individual versus the Globe, a winner at least for a few hours
- for any price… The contrast between the individual and the huge global
society is increasing. You can create the illusion that an Internet publication
gives you a wide audience, but practically it requires a lot of additional
effort, resources or intense activity. That is also the reason why so
many group projects are taking place.
MT. Could you tell about x-i.net (http://x-i.net)? Is it a server where
you give space to the projects you like? X-i.net hosts web pages of BIN
and NICE and you yourself seem to be very active in net policy.
JG. X-i.net is a server system that I use as a toolset for various experiments
and to facilitate projects that I or projects I find interesting or important.
Even for those where I am not involved in myself.
I have formed my own infrastructure. It is a combination of my own personal
equipment and resources in institutions where I am allowed to host it.
I use 3-4 computers that have all functions that I could need - web servers,
mail servers, database servers - to mention the most popular. I can be
Internet service provider myself. In this way, together with my network
and programming skills, I can create projects on a very good technical
level and I can support projects that I like. On a x-i.net web directory
you can see just some of them, as a number of projects open for only for
specific groups. Homepages of some very good friends of mine are there
Developing net projects I see a lot of coherence and relations. So if
you have found funding for one interface you can create next five ones
on the same basis. You can multiply some of the elements as modules. Technically
you can use all this information, statistics, access reports and monitoring
in diverse ways that can be perceived as an artistic activity or product.
MT. How much are you involved in net strategies and theory?
JG. Project Namespace where I have assisted, was some of the turning points
that made me reflect on the political and economical coherence in Internet.
Participation in network projects like NICE, BIN - covers this social
interest too. However, I am now almost obsessed with new kinds interfaces
between computing, audiovisual media, networked structures and the VR
as artistic expression and I think during my studies at KHM I will probably
largely base my master thesis on that.
MT. How do you see the future of net art?
JG. I think that the extent will grow with search engines, and attempts
to get orientated in all this field that is overloaded with information
now. You see, the Internet pages are only the beginning. I think that
in some 5 -10 years any, even things like cars, cooking ovens in the kitchen,
clothes, will have a network address of some kind. You will be able to
connect to it by computer and, say, interact with it. Probably soon you
will have a chip in glasses that will give information to your look, what
it is, how much the thing costs and where to get it. Maybe not everybody
will have these gadgets, but as with mobile phones today - some people
will have it, and more will be willing to have it, but every year it will
become more and more accessible. Not just computer equipment but almost
everything will be on the net and it will allow to…
MT. Control it?
JG. Well, to use it for creative purposes, as well... Or as artists always
seem to do - try to use common things in some uncommon way. Of course,
there will be problems when something will break down or it will be too
dependent on technical standard wars. Nevertheless, I hope people will
have many more possibilities to analyse and explore information and contexts.
Perhaps it will develop this way.
Peteris Kimelis - net activist, member of E-lab, studies at computer
and video departments of the Royal College of Fine Arts, Stockholm, Sweden.
MT. About your recent project - what is web tv <http://wtv.re-lab.net
PK. At the moment wtv is my personal lifestyle. We are working on it together
with Katrina Neiburga as a group "Primitive". Wtv takes place when I am
just sitting in a studio and at some moment I switch on cameras, mixers
and sound. Plus some professional collaboration. It is important that
mixing for the web we don't use any records, we are using 3 or 4 computers
with surveillance cameras on them that are capturing very live animations,
video images straight from the net. We also develop "robots"
that are automatically mixing images from surveillance cameras… mixing
it and streaming back to the net. Very much like in broadcasting, we are
using low tech - very primitive, analogue switchers and other simple things,
well, the mixer is digital. "Primitive" means that we are using low tech,
not silicon graphics and virtual studio… we are using second hand and
MT. How wtv works?
PK. Our cameras are re-filming materials from Internet without any computer
technology. In our case this TV that is filmed from the Internet and made
only for Internet is previewed for its low resolution and quality. The
mixer and computers are connected to monitors; each monitor has 1-2 surveillance
cameras pointed to it. We use more than 7 sources. There is another technology
as well - when we are re-filming our broadcast and putting it in loop…
MT. So if you have some equipment you can make your own net TV?
PK. Yes, and you don't need a lot of equipment - it would cost a video-card
and a surveillance camera plus microphone. We even planned to make a round
trip to different countries and to distribute these video-cards, and to
distribute them by Internet too. So that people could prepare and send
their materials for use.
MT. Is it important that somebody watches your wtv ?
PK. Essentially - if you work in a big TV company or in a radio station,
as I did, you are sitting in front of the control panel and by rating
you know that some 10 000 people are listening to you. But they are all
zero, you are playing this music to yourself, you don't see and don't
feel them. Although I have tried to contact them by phone - to connect
to their sound systems and to create audio-loops on radio. When you are
netcasting the server indicates that two users have connected, then three,
four - five are already a lot. Usually - nobody, then again one or two.
MT. And if nobody?
PK. OK, we are mixing and recording it and afterwards we put it in archive
that is visited by far more people.
MT. Are you communicating with users?
PK. In the chat room, and it is private, it isn't mass communication like
in a company that is broadcasting for millions and is creating conventions.
Wtv is a very intimate, very precise communication.
MT. An ideal model of sorts?
PK. Yes, and I believe that it is like that. When we are breaking out
of stuffiness of enormous portals and search engines on Internet.
MT. You avoid calling yourself an artist. Marco Peljhan once defined his
work as "progressive activities in time".
PK. I like the term "irrational activist". Irrational activities are my
occupation. I do only things that interest me and some of my friends.
We need a brand-name like "primitive" to get some equipment and cash.
An "art project to make the name". Other word I would use is a cultural
Lately nobody calls himself or herself an artist in the media art scene.
What we are doing is a social event…
In a some way I am… an idealist and I have a feeling that we are doing
a very important job, that it will do good to all the people, it is clear
that it can't be beneficial exclusively for us. It must do good to everyone.
MT. In Riga one can notice mostly collaborative projects of artists -"99%
Svaigs" Varka Crew, Rigas Zieds a lot of them are also interconnected
and engaged in E-lab projects as well.
PK. I think that the reason is a cultural vacuum in this state, no thrilling
culture - everything is conventional and established. Culture policy formed
by irrelevant state institutions. And the new generation is coming up,
absolutely different not even "Generation P" anymore, and they don't have
so many possibilities to work, therefore these structures are collaborating.
MT. You mentioned a new TV project, "Kukla" ("Doll" in Russian). What
is the message of "Kukla"?
PK. Message is very simple - at the moment there are no lifestyle programs
on the local TV… With Beta, Katrina Neiburga and Kirils Kirasirovs we
are creating a new cult character. So that all the girls would like to
become Kuklas and all the boys would dream to marry a Kukla. (Ha ha ha)
MT. As a Barbie…?
PK. No, not necessarily, maybe as Saulcerite or Antins (Latvian literature
heroes). More like looking for a Latvian identity. While Latvia exists
and Riga exists, and in Riga necessarily are some coolers. An identity
that would be alternative to all the foreign pop programs, maybe a more
local and more comprehensive one. Kukla will have its frequent time on
the TV. But to make it more global than local we will create Kukla's web
site where everybody can receive updated information and donate files
sending e-mail. We will try to use internet quality video on TV which
is a very interesting experiment for me personally. Acting as reporters
- Kukla is invited to different places and followed by radio-conducted
surveillance toy-cars-cameras. Kukla goes to some spots and never goes
to other places, in the donor centre Kukla is donating blood, she is taking
part in sport games, browsing the web, a kind of Latvian Superwoman. Latvian
MT. What does Kukla search in Internet?
PK. Everything. She has a web page where she invites all fans and friends
and home video enthusiasts to send her files or video reports. She is
interested in their lives, for example, her friend could work as a technician
at MTV and stick wires...
MT. When did you start your E-lab activities?
PK. When I returned from a study year in Britain the first disappointment
was the total lack of information. There is the daily newspaper "Diena"
with a picture of the national hockey team on the first page and a small
article about a major explosion with hundreds of dead outside the country,
in the local media I felt the lack of analysis or understanding of global
processes and interconnections. And 3 years ago this narrow-mindedness
was even more present. E-lab was something new with outdated modem and
Internet connection. At that time I was working as an Internet consultant
in an advertising company and I spent about 12 hours Online every day.
At first time I was still in Britain and it was interesting to send my
sound files to Radio Ozone.
MT. What you see as a development ?
PK. I think that E-lab structure should become even more socially engaged
- I mean the activities of recently founded RIX-C. E-lab has become very
large - Janis Garancs is working in Germany, I am in Sweden and all Xchange
projects are continued in different countries. A lot of Xchange people
have become video broadcasters that have complemented audio broadcasting.
E-lab is developing and so do people within it..
Main changes are in the efficiency of connection, if some years ago we
were figuring out how to send Real Audio and how the livestream would
go and we sent it mono, then today we are doing web TV (wtv) (http://wtv.re-lab.net)
that is already video-based.
MT. You mentioned the work with low tech solutions. How do you see differences
in this high tech / low tech approach?
PK. There is a virtual studio in the Stockholm school, it interests me,
but I know that I would have to work for some 3 weeks to create 30 sec.
And I think I don't have any idea that would be good enough to dedicate
such time to it. And I am more interested in research.
And high tech slowly becomes low tech anyway, that what we are using now
3 years ago was high tech but now it is OK tech.
MT. Which web-projects you like?
PK. Irrational org, but I haven't checked them lately.
MT. Some say that Internet is a space for idealistic plans.
PK. Internet does not have censorship, and it is uncontrolled.
Arvids Alksnis, artists, member of E-lab, tutor at J.Rozentals Riga art
college Internet course. Lives and works in Riga. Web page: http://re-lab.net/arvids/
MT. Your art projects could be characterised by very conceptual, simple
formal solutions. What qualities you value in net-art?
AA. The very good and precise idea and then there are many possibilities
for formal solutions. Very clear idea is essential.
I like projects of those who are calling themselves "net art classics".
Those who started first to work on Internet and at some point named themselves
as critics and continued to develop art projects. Like approach of Jodi
www.jodi.org and Alexei Shulgin. Now there are developments in elaborated
design, stuffed with humour, technologically advanced web page design.
That interests me less.
The first projects on the net where very close to technical possibilities
and solutions on net like browsers. Time around 1996 where the very active
time for this kind of net art.
In mid 90ies in Latvia we had less experience to work with these technical
solutions. In fact, when these browser solutions arrived here most of
the interesting things where already discovered. Sound coincided very
well, it came a little bit later and existed parallel with browser projects.
Browser projects are very related to design possibilities It could be
the reason why we have less advanced visual imagery. E-lab concentrated
more on projects in net space, oriented towards networking and collaboration.
MT. You are leading Internet class at J.Rozentals Art College. Some of
your students like "Rigas zieds" http://re-lab.lv/rigasZieds and Oskars
Poikans http://re-lab.net/care-taker/ , already made presentations of
new net art projects at Artgenda in Helsinki.
AA. At the college I am leading Internet course. Course exists already
for two years and at the moment it is compulsory subject. Both "Rigas
zieds" and Oskars Poikans have chosen it, but they had been working with
interned already before. I don't know if these classes were of big importance
to them. Interest is basic for this work.
Now it is too complicated to work for many hours on net. Internet definetly
costs too much, at least in Latvia, but I believe it should be cheaper
everywhere. People are spending so much time on it and they would be ready
to use it more.
MT. Apart from commenting on net technical structure some of your net
art projects "Very hopeful" http://very.re-lab.net/, "Welcome" http://re-lab.net/welcome/
"Surveying the Secrets of Universe" http://re-lab.net/arvids/10vasaras/
investigations in traces of outer space in our real or informational environment.
AA. I like minimalist approach and Internet have proved to be very corresponding
to my way of thinking. As about outer space - maybe it comes from books
that were red in childhood. Yes the outer space is expansive, you can
work within it with less limitations. Maybe in reality am kind of romantic.
All about the stars.
But as I mentioned this techno-romanticism is very present here in Latvia.
Technologies can be used in much more technical and stern way. I have
not noticed it in Latvia - such very technological or conceptual approach.
I am interested in technologically precise solutions.
In the worlds net activists are very often coming from other - technical
field, or maybe from subcultures. In Latvia we are mostly people with
Art academy background. I think that the social and academic background
has very much influenced this turn to a kind of romantic approach here.
MT. Obvious that in net projects here we can hardly find examples of critical
or analytical approach towards society or communication systems, as it
is very present in net-art projects and theories in Western Europe and
AA. Maybe here people are less pragmatic, after all we are situated somewhere
between Europe and Asia. Another reason is a habit to think in such terms,
In Holland people are choosing their way to live for decades. Here sometimes
it seems senseless to speak about things happening.
MT. There are a lot of talks of commercialisation of net space.
AA. It becomes problem when they limit the rights of the user. But commercialisation
makes Internet handier.
MT. Inspite of www net art projects sometimes seems to be as isolated
as any other art field.
AA. For a huge publicity one maybe should work with TV and other mass
media, number of galleries visitors is limited as well. Some time ago
you could get more visitors in exhibition than in web-page. If you are
interested in visitors there always is possibility to advertise.
I see the exhibitions of net art and the works in museums as advertising.
The only problem is that advertising is selective and something can remain
MT. Peteris Kimelis and Jaanis Garancs mentioned their future visions
on Internet and its development, what is yours?
AA. Internet will become more available and there will be more ways to
use it. Developing technology is more connected with Audio and Video,
it is already similar to low tech TV. Not the ideal solution but a kind
On selected projects:
The individual net art project can be found on <http://re-lab.net/projects/>
and <http://x-i.net/links/>. Online works vary from the comment,
reversal and simulation of basic net technical "appearances" of Internet
- search engines, links, browsers, web addresses that was spectacular
in the early net-art projects to the simulation and mutation of artists
and viewers identity. So analyse, humour and criticism of formal conventions
and technical matters continuously timely issue for New media solutions.
Exploration of technological processes and structures on the net can be
seen in the first international collaborative project Refresh (initiated
by Andreas Broeckmann, Alexei Shulgin and Vuk Cosic). Within the system
of larger project E-lab participated by creation of "Rigafresh" http://home.parks.lv/E-LAB/~rigafresh/
- connecting to "Refresh" database of changing web-pages the loop of net
art projects and links from E-lab server in Riga. "Rigafresh" loop functioned
out of users control - indicated links and addresses did not gave expected
results but connected to the next Rigafresh page.
Interaction and specifics of internet connection are conceptually overlooked
in A.Alksnis projects "Interactive" <http://re-lab.net/interaktivs/index6.html>,
and "Form Art to URL Art" <http://re-lab.net/F/> - the last one
is response to A.Shulgin net project "new form art". In URL window of
A.Shulgins project webpage A.Alksnis has inserted gradually apperaring
guestion "formart?", coneceptualising and enquiring on nature, classification
and naming of other artist's net specific work.
Internet is perfect for simulations and double identities with it's obvious
unsecurity of every text and manifesto. A space for anonymous or pseudonym
presentations and substitution of credible factology that was rather often
used by Latvian artists:
Peteris Kimelis in collaboration with Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan
Republic created significant selection of net artworks with low tech solutions
- "!R UZ" <http://ir.uz.x-i.net>. Project was intended to promote
the net art in Uzbekistan, and low resolution is corresponding to connection
capacities in a state. Therefore this democratic selection of low tech
artworks has taken place. A subject that maybe resembles curatorial activity
in "real time" in net unites the fictional concept propositions and net
In other project "Z>anna Da" <www.geocities.com/Vienna/Strasse/1580/>
artist has fused and interrelated presentations of three women - Monika
Pormale from Latvia, Jane from USA and historical figure Jeanne d'Arc
connecting individual, geographical and historical territories.
Gints Gabrans created "Spheroid parish" <http://re-lab.net/spheroid>
site - visitor is invited to "Follow the first ritual step - enter your
bate of birth in the table and find out the distance to the sphere where
your birth is now being witnessed - The Divine Birth Sphere.", and to
become a member of parish submitting the contribution. In number of publications
artist has claimed that web-page is just a commission of "Spheroids" -
these cosmic/ intergalactic time counters.
Browsers, questionarees, counters and other statistic methods are often
employed to create content of the net artwork and to provoke interaction
with data provided Alike as in "Spheroids" form of interactivity, precisely,
enquiry was used by G.Gabrans in a work "Notikums" (Event) <http://home.parks.lv/E-LAB/notikums>.
Projects guestionares were distributed both in exhibition space and could
be read on the net. Visitor was invited to read the story in English and
to answer 3 questions. As most of G.Gabrans works "Notikums" is about
possibilities of choice, indefinite agenda of decisions and reaction to
disturbing experience. Answers where summed up, grouped by rates and results
of "research on human choice" displayed in graphs.
Characteristic and significant for the net art in Latvia are projects
that are taking place both within contemporary art exhibitions and "virtual
space". Many of them using live signal broadcast through the net.
For example "Radio Kit Kat" <http://pk.re-lab.net/kit-kat/> transmission
in train Riga - Ventspils: "The project was intended and created as the
sound intervention into the closed public space - the VTT train as well
as a live netcast. It was carried out by the three collaborative partners
Radio Kit-Kat (pk, Kaspars Vanags, Sergejs Timofejevs) on board the train,
mobile phone line (Baltcom GSM) + Internet connection provided by Radio
Ozone and E-l@b (Rasa Smite & Raitis Smits, Janis Garancs). The broadcasting
was an independent and self organised activity within VTT. post production
--->A limited edition CD (100 copies)". Project was coordinated by
Project "Very hopeful" <http://very.re-lab.net> was created as multimedia
project that used net broadcast and database in exhibition. (Project was
exhibited at "Cool places" Vilnius, 1998; "After the Wall" Stockholm and
Budapest 1999/2000; "N.E.W.S", Szechin, 2000). Sound, visuals, and information
material paraphrasing and updating the Voyagers 1 and 2 messages to the
outer space related to the key question of the project - "Can we say something
very hopeful about this planet?". Project was created by Martins Ratniks,
Peteris Kimelis, Dzintars Licis and Arvids Alksnis. "Welcome" <http://re-lab.net/welcome>
by Arvids Alksnis - "database" with sounds and images on Voyagers content.
Both projects incorporate strong fusion of content and techniques, creating
besides visual and sound some "outer space hopes" experiencing.
Some projects by Jaanis Garancs <http://jg.x-i.net> are combining
the display and presentation in Internet and real environment.
Among many sound projects in Internet could be mentioned "3 frequences"
by Peteris Kimelis and various presentations od electronic music.
"wtv" <http://wtv.re-lab.net/> started by Peteris Kimelis and Katrina
Neiburga for broadcasting (See interview with P.Kimelis).
Izolde's Cesiniece's "River Stream Coast" <http://re-lab.net/izolde/>
is individual artist's projects. Subjective summary and interpretations
of process of aging', history of family and it's relevance for wide circle
of people. Links for these basic issues in the past, present and future.
Other individual projects can be found on E-lab web-page projects section.
Besides "wtv" as the most recent projects could be mentioned: Oskars Poikan's
"Care taker" <http://re-lab.net/care-taker/> relates to surveillance
methods and habits and effect of immediacy characteristiv to the net.
Collection in one page pictures from several net connected surveillance
cameras, displayed in different parts of the world. When guessing something
suspicious you can immediately contact "police". And project by students
of Visual Communication department "rigasZieds" <http://re-lab.lv/rigasZieds/>,
dynamic and mutating, lively cell action on the net complemented by sound.
That calls into mind recent media topicality of mute cells and genes,
mikro-world particle's conditions and autonomity. Elementary bio-particles
that have intervened now even in world wide web.